The Tourism Ministry says about 1.9 million tourists came to Lebanon in 2009, the highest number of visitors to come to the mountainous Arab nation ever.
The new figure exceeds those from the time before Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, when Beirut was dubbed the “Paris of the Middle East.”
Figures released this week show that 1,851,081 tourists visited Lebanon in 2009, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. The 2009 number is the highest ever and broke the 1974 record of 1.4 million tourists, the ministry reported.
Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud estimated the country’s annual income from tourism at up to $7 billion, or about 20 percent of gross domestic product. Businessweek
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